Finding Real Problems  - Materials and Description

Presented at Head, Heart, Hand - AIGA 2013 Conference
Minneapolis, MN - 10 October 2013

About the project

On this site, you can find materials that were referenced during Aaron Ganci's presentation Finding Real Problems during the 2013 AIGA Conference: Head, Heart, Hand in Minneapolis, MN. You can find the original article as well as materials that can be used to replicate the project described in the work.

Great apps allow people to express themselves, improve their productivity, or connect them to loved ones. They solve problems that are at the core of human life. As we educate students about designing new digital experiences, we also have to instill in them the ability to investigate and identify tools that will truly impact people’s lives. Electives in web design can be a great way to introduce a design methodology to a wide variety of students.

The use of simple participatory design methods can introduce methodological thinking to students to help them understand potential users’ real problems. In this paper, a case study will be shared about the use of participatory research methods within the context of digital design elective coursework. Examples of objectives and deliverables will be shared about the integration of these methods into course projects. From this paper, design educators can take away the ability to integrate participatory design learning outcomes into traditional web and application design projects. In addition, by using the documented approach, educators can provide their students with the ability to conceptualize realistic, useful, and potentially patentable new products in the context of their course.

About Aaron

I am Aaron Ganci, an Assistant Professor of Visual Communication Design at Herron School of Art and Design, part of Indiana University, in Indianapolis, IN. My expertise is  the area of in the visual design of online environments (user interface design).

Coming from an educational background (MFA 2011, Ohio State University; BA 2006, Eastern Illinois University) encompassing print, interaction, and user experience design, I am well-positioned to document design’s transition to new on-screen and interactive environments.

My current research interests include:

  • The role of the designer in web development
  • Visualization tactics for large data sets
  • Interaction design, experience design, and general on-screen design curriculum
  • Team-centric design processes

In addition teaching, I also consult on a variety of digital design projects. Most recently, I have been consulting on the development of a visual design system for a worldwide suite of digital library tools (including WorldCat and FirstSearch) produced by the Online Computer Library Center, Inc. in Dublin, OH.



Full Paper FInding Real Problems 
Download PDF (687 KB)

FInding Real Problems  Presentation Deck
Download PDF (2.5 MB)

All Materials
Including Describe your day canvas, Generative canvas, project sheet, images, shapes, and word list.
Download ZIP (5.6 MB)


Contact Aaron